How to Have Adventures While Traveling

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Hundreds of years ago, adventures and traveling went hand in hand. Large parts of the world were still unexplored, and there were many mysterious still to be uncovered.

These days it is no-longer possible to ‘sail off the map’, and in an age where tourists are able to travel into space or trek through the jungles of Borneo it seems that adventure travel has become as commoditized as the package holiday industry.

Modern adventure seems to be limited to those who climb rock faces, ski down mountains, trek through jungles and dive to the bottom of the ocean.

Adventure travelOf course, the assumption here is that adventures come about through purely physical acts and through traveling far away from home.

Of course, there’s nothing at all ‘wrong’ with extreme sports or organized expeditions, but real adventures aren’t something that can be looked at in a glossy brochure, sold by a travel agent or shown on reality television.

Most adventures, it seems, come about by going into a new/strange/amazing environment and simply allowing things to happen (or ‘going with the flow’).

Having an adventure, therefore, is less of a physical challenge than a mental one.

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”
Marcel Proust quotes (French Novelist and Author, 1871-1922)

Instead of actively trying to seek out adventure and having your own expectations of what you should experience, it is better to travel in such a manner that adventures gravitate towards you.

To do this you must open yourself up to the unpredictable nature of the world, and accept that you can’t control every event. By doing this, adventure will become a part of your everyday life.

As Rolf Potts says: “When you begin your travels, the mere act of riding a third-class train or using a squat toilet might qualify as an adventure. As such novelties become familiar, you can continue to invite the unknown by weaning yourself from your guidebook, avoiding routines, and allowing yourself to get sidetracked.

As history has shown us (with great explorers such as Christopher Columbus), a lot your best travel adventures will come about by accident.

These adventures can range from being positive and serendipitous, to being pretty terrible at times. The trick to surviving is to take all experiences with good cheer and in your stride.

Riding CamelsAs Bertrand Russell puts it: “Adventurous men enjoy shipwrecks, mutinies, earthquakes, conflagrations, and all kinds of unpleasant experiences.

They say to themselves, for example, ‘So this is what an earthquake is like’, and it gives them pleasure to have their knowledge of the world increased by this new item”.

While it’s good view misadventures in a positive light if possible, it’s unwise to go about actively seeking misadventure through poor habits or a lack of planning.

For example, if you neglect taking your malaria tablets (through laziness or for whatever reason) in Laos you could quite easily contract malaria. Alternatively, you could quite easily travel to a country on the edge political unrest and get caught up in the mishappenings if you didn’t research its current status before you left.

Both of these experiences could be classed as adventures, but surely both of them would rather be avoided. Clearly, there’s a difference between being open minded and asking for trouble.

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  • Ed_smith

    Good article!